OpenCoffee {Quattro}

Opencoffeequattro Just over a week ago, I was worried that the numbers for Leeds’ fourth OpenCoffee event weren’t going to be as stellar as the previous month’s turnout. I was wrong 🙂

Thanks to some voluntary PR efforts from local PR hero Richard Hamer* and a last minute uptick in Upcoming registrants, we managed to attract around 30-35 people throughout the morning. As well as the now regular core of OpenCoffee Leeds regulars*, we had some new faces…

  • I raided the Upcoming listings for The University of York’s Towards a Social Science for Web 2.0 to invite Maz Hardey, a self-described PhD student, freelance writer, blogger and Geek chic. Maz has been conducting some interesting sociological research into what she describes as the iGeneration, the first to reach adulthood in the connected age. The sociological motivations of social media have long been a core theme in my own work, so I’m kicking myself for not making more time to pick Maz’s brains on her research. Maz, Deb and I have been a little disappointed with the turnout of women at tech events – so we’ve been talking about organising a one-off Geek Girl Dinner somewhere in the North to surface the region’s most interesting tech women and find out why they’re not coming along to GeekUps, BarCamps and OpenCoffees! Let us know if you’d like to be involved 🙂
  • Sally Broom, Founder of Your Safe Planet, came across OpenCoffee from The Connectors. Your Safe Planet is a service that matches travellers with trusted local friends and guides across the planet – kinda like CouchSurfing and Stuff Your Rucksack – there’s some great potential to position YSP as a reputation platform for all kinds of local content and services. Sally just moved to Leeds from the Lake District, so it was great to see our local dotcom and geek community fulfilling the premise of YSP and welcoming Sally to the City 🙂
  • Tarique Naseem, one of my partners in Carbon Imagineering and the technology brain behind our forthcoming services mee:view and Believr demonstrated some recent work he’d been doing for the WOW Academy. Tarique’s Lunar Lander  demo showed of only a fraction of his talent. Taz was one of the founding team at VR pioneers Walden Industries, Maelstrom and Red Tie and has an incredible two-decade legacy in games development, 3D technology and now web applications.
  • Linda Broughton, Head of the New Technology Institute at Leeds Met is fast becoming one of my favourite people in the regional tech community. Linda is keen to connect the university’s innovation showcase at Old Broadcasting House to the stattup and geek communities in the city and also use it as a platform for academic innovation and engaging with entrepreneurs and digital media professionals from all disciplines. Linda and I have been talking about establishing a coworking space at Old Broadcasting House for a several months and has been extraordinarily supportive in bringing some of our ideas on coworking to the attention of the university. Linda’s kindly letting Carbon locate at OBH in exchange for helping cohere some strategies for innovation 🙂
  • Enterprise Venture’s Mark Rahn, told me he was recently reviewing a potential investment (Hive?) who’d quoted me discussing semacodes in their pitch! I don’t remember writing about that…tell me more Mark!
  • I also bumped into old Orange colleagues, Fraser Brydson, Matt Edgar and Ben Childs, now Managing Director of Common Agency.

A special shout out should go out to Nexus‘ Carl and Bal for setting up wifi connectivity for everyone and of course Justin Whitson for once again providing the use of the Loftart gallery and the staff of Anthony’s restaurant for the amazing fresh pastries and the coffee! Justin couldn’t make it this month…he’s about to announce some very, very good news 🙂

Once again, thanks everyone for making time to come and mingle – there are a bunch of photos here and some thoughts from from Sebastian Mysko here. See you next month on 2nd October – same time, same place 🙂

* Our regular faces include Dominic Hodgson, Lee Strafford, Marco Potesta, Paul Stanton, Guy Redwood, Ian Pringle, Ian Green, Graeme Moss, Kevin Whitworth, Mohsin Ali, Colin Glass, Glen Hopkinson and Richard Garside amongst others!

** Richard helpfully prepared pres releases for Digital Yorkshire, O’ReillyGMT, Blognation, Round Foundry, The Register, Velocity, ZDNet, Computing, Computer Weekly and Business Link)

UPDATE: James Holmes, one of the attendees from OpenCoffee {Uno} and founder of myTripBook has just joined venture-backed Parisian startup Tvtrip…well done James!


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